Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Bully's Pulpit

Virtually every day since he won reelection, President Barack Obama has addressed the nation, made a speech, held a press conference or given an interview in which he has criticized conservatives or the half of the country that didn't vote for him. Obama is behaving as though he won a massive landslide. He did not. 

The president got 51% of the vote. At the same time, voters returned a Republican majority to the House of Representatives and increased the number of Republican governors to 30. 

But, my friends, this simple fact cannot be overstated -- there is no one right now who can command the media high ground like the president can. That is why the presidency is referred to as the "bully pulpit." The power of the president to influence public opinion should not be underestimated. 

But the bully pulpit is becoming a bully's pulpit. Consider this example from the president's press conference yesterday. 

With the Newtown shootings weighing heavily on everyone's mind, with parents still grieving and flowers still being laid on children's graves, the president chose to describe members of Congress who favor lower spending as hostage takers demanding a ransom "with a gun at the head of the American people." So if you want to balance the budget, you're like a deranged killer. 

In case you think I'm being overly critical, I wasn't the only one struck by the president's rhetoric. 

Dana Milbank, a columnist for the Washington Post, wrote that Obama "showed unrelenting hostility toward the opposition" punctuated "with dismissive shrugs and skeptical frowns." Milbank added that Obama was being unnecessarily "adversarial." and seemed more interested in trying to "bait" congressional conservatives. 

Media Malfeasance 

The front page of today's Washington Post has a bold headline: "Most Support Gun Control." The headline comes from a new Post poll that purports to show broad public support for new restrictions on the Second Amendment. The left-wing media clearly has its agenda, and it's not yours. 

According to the Post's own poll, "enacting stricter gun control laws" ranked fourth on a list of priorities that the public wants Washington to address. The economy was the highest priority, followed by "reducing federal spending" and "restructuring the federal tax system." That gun control ranked as a relatively low priority was glossed over in the article. 

A new Gallup survey found similar results. Asked to identify the "most important problem" facing the country, only 4% of respondents said "gun control." The issue tied for sixth place behind the economy, the federal budget deficit, dissatisfaction with government, unemployment and lack of money. 

Demonstrating once again the disconnect between Washington elites and the American people, Politico reports that Vice President Joe Biden told a small cadre of House liberals yesterday that his task force has "identified 19 executive actions for President Barack Obama to move unilaterally on gun control." 

Meet Andrew Smith 

A few months ago, I was at Reagan National Airport waiting to board an already-late flight. Nearby I noticed a family looking in my direction. The husband and wife and their two daughters looked like the countless tourists that come to the nation's capital. I nodded to them and the mother walked over in my direction smiling.

Her name was Catherine Smith. She recognized me and wanted to say, "Hello" and encourage me. I thanked her and asked if she and her family were here on vacation. 

That is when I learned that the Smiths were here to visit their son, Andrew, who was at Walter Reed Hospital recuperating from grievous wounds he suffered in Afghanistan. When he was out on patrol, an improvised explosive device (IED) destroyed both his legs. 

The story of Andrew and his wife, Tori, and how they have been dealing with his road back from his wounds should inspire everyone. What the Taliban meant for evil, Andrew, Tori and their families have turned into good, and through it they have brought glory to God. 

Andrew still has many challenging days ahead. He just completed another round of major surgery. You can find out more about Andrew at teamandrewsmith.com.

I hope you will join me in praying for this family and all the American families who have given so much to defend our nation and our freedom. We have massive problems facing our country, but we also have a great reservoir of men and women who are willing to risk everything for faith, family and freedom. 

Kudos To Walmart 

Walmart is one of America's greatest success stories. Not surprisingly, it has been relentlessly attacked by virtually every left-wing outfit. Today it deserves our appreciation. 

Addressing the National Retail Federation's annual conference, Walmart CEO Bill Simon made two major announcements. Walmart will purchase an additional $50 billion of American-made products over the next 10 years in an effort to support American manufacturing and create jobs here at home. 

In addition, Walmart is promising to hire more than 100,000 honorably discharged veterans over the next five years. Simon said, "Veterans have a record of performance under pressure. …They are leaders with discipline, training, and a passion for service. There is a seriousness and sense of purpose that the military instills, and we need it today more than ever." 

I couldn't agree more!